PS 34:3

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! ~Psalm 34:3

Friday, September 14, 2012

Our Trip Back

Hands and Feet Project

Friends and Family,

       I wanted to give you a quick update on our trip back to the states so that we can see as many of you as possible.  We fly into Charlotte, NC on September 20th and will drive down to Columbia that evening.  We plan on being at Northside Baptist (SC) on Sunday the 23rd.  We also have the opportunity to share with a church in Batesburg on Wednesday evening.  The following Saturday (29th) we will have a Hands and Feet fundraiser BBQ in Lexington (from 10am-2pm) for those of you that would like to join us.  We would love to see you guys out there to share with you about what God's doing here in Grand Goave firsthand.  See the attached flyer for details :-).  Later on that evening we will be heading up to visit some good friends of ours in NC.  We will then attend church with them that morning and make our way north that afternoon to Syracuse.  We will be doing lots of wedding preparations that week before the wedding on October 5th.  That next Sunday (Oct 7th) we will be worshipping with our church family at Northside Baptist (NY) followed by an evening service at RiverEdge.  We are really looking forward to catching up with lots of friends and family over these next two weeks!

Please be praying for safe and easy travels (this will be a first for us with two infants in laps).  Praise the Lord we don't live half way across the world and have to fly for more than 2 hours at a time :-).  You can also be praying for our time spent with our family and friends- that it would be a sweet time of re-connection and encouragement.

Monday, September 10, 2012

September Update

Update from Grand Goave

September 2012

A Little R&R.  Well the Sutton (and HAF) family is really excited to tell you that our crazy hectic summer is now over!!  We want to praise the Lord for giving us the strength and patience to get through 12 weeks straight of hosting teams.  We are so grateful for all the help and all the people that have started sponsoring our kids as a result of a trip this summer!  On the other hand, we are also really excited to have a little rest and relaxation from having to entertain 24/7 :-).  We have been able to hang out and have fun with the kids these past few weeks before they head back to school, October 3rd.  Our kids were supposed to start back September 3rd, but because of the hurricane- they have pushed back the start date to give those who lost homes up in the mountains time to figure out what they're going to do.

Isaac Damage

We are extremly blessed here at Hands and Feet.  The only damage we had to our property during the hurricane was 2 big limbs down on some of our trees.  Other than that, we had no other damage- praise the Lord!!  We have a huge mountain range right behind our house that takes most of the wind in hurricanes- which is a huge blessing!  We got a call at 1am from our Jacmel HAF site saying that we needed to get out of there.  The winds were crazy strong in Jacmel (causing several of their large trees to fall down and the tin generator roof to blow off.)  So we got all of the kids and staff up and drove down in 3 car loads down to our Pastor's guest house (concrete building).  When we came back the next day, we found only a few limbs down in the yard and our houses were all still completely intact :-).  Thank you, Jesus!!  This is a picture of the river thta runs through town, the day after the hurricane- it usually is small enough to jump over- not today :-)

Progress on the Mountain.

We have officially started the foundation up at our mountain property, Ikondo.  They are done digging the foundation out for our first phase and have just finished tying the rebar together for the foundation.  They actualy just finished pouring the basement floor yesterday (well, it's actually a plumbing & electrical corridor).  We have a solar powered well pump up there right now that allows the neighbors to come and get water during the day- which they love!  We are almost finished on our "Haitian style fence" around the property up there.  We've taken small 1-2" diameter sticks put them in the ground and connected them with barbed wire.  It doesn't feel as closed off from the neighbors as a 9' concrete wall does.  Andrew has been making lots of trips up in the Deuce with almost 300 bags of cement, plywood (for the forms) and rebar.  We had no idea when we got it, how much we'd use the Deuce- but it's been extremely handy these past few weeks!!!  

Our Trip Back.

We are planning on coming back in a few weeks to the states to visit family and friends.  We will be flying into SC on September 20th and staying in the Columbia area until the 29th.  We will then drive up to NY on the 30th for Angie's sister's wedding and stay until October 9th.  We would love to meet and catch up with whoever is available, so please email us and let us know if you have some free time those weeks.  We will be at Northside (SC)- Sept 23rd and the following Sunday, we will be visiting a supporting church up in NC.  

August Update

Hands and Feet Project

Friends and Family, I am sorry this update is LONG overdue!  I apologize, I will put some more pictures in the next update, we haven’t had a lot of time to take pictures of what’s been going on lately.  We have been staying extremely busy with our teams back to back since June 2nd.  Praise the Lord that we’re almost done with this crazy hectic summer.  Our last team leaves September 3rd, so after that, we will be back to normal.  PLUS our kids go back to school the first week in September too- so we’re excited about having some time to rest and relax in the mornings :-).
                  Andrew has been driving the Deuce and a half into Port au Prince each Saturday to drop a team off and pick another one up.   The Deuce works really well for picking teams up- we’ve added a tarp to the top (to provide some shade or rain protection) and a luggage rack.  While he’s in PAP, our intern (Lauren) and myself (along with some of the kids) clean the guest house and make all the beds for the upcoming team.  Our hardest part this summer has been coming up with enough projects for our teams to help us with.  A lot of them have been helping us paint our barrier wall (on the inside), making us a basketball court, making some clotheslines, organizing our depot and food storage, as well as other miscellaneous cleaning and organizing projects.  A lot of our teams have also come in with VBS-like material and have done lots of lessons, crafts and games with the kids.  They have also started digging out the foundation up at our Ikondo (mountain) property.  We have about 20-30 workers on a given day up there clearing it out to get it ready to pour the foundation!  (More pictures to follow in the next update.)
                 As some of you might have seen on Facebook, this past Friday one of our 6-year-old girls from Jacmel went to be with Jesus.  They were taking a trip to the beach (like any other day) with some of the kids and a big wave came and swept her away.  By the time they realized she was not in with the rest of group- it was too late, they were unable to find her.  They did find her body several miles down the beach Sunday afternoon.  Our heart breaks for those in Jacmel who are grieving the loss of this sweet little girl.  But we can also rejoice in knowing that she is with our Lord right now and in a far better place.  So today we (the Sutton’s) unfortunately, have our first funeral to attend here in Haiti.  Please be praying for those who were close to Junette and that God of all comfort would give them His peace that passes all understanding.  Please pray for Junette’s extended family too that is now grieving too.  Pray that they would turn to Christ and come to know Him in a personal way. 
                As soon as we heard the news, we immediately told our kids (and team) and had them start to pray for those over in Jacmel.  Pastor Manyol led us in a time of prayer, song and reading of the Scripture.  It was a sweet moment to see him step up like that and lead our kids.  After that, Andrew and I sat down with half of the kids (one-on-one) and had a conversation about where they are spiritually.  We shared with them James 4:14 (life is like a vapor, here one minute and gone the next.)  It was pretty encouraging to sit down with them and find that each one professes to be a believer.  On the other hand, the discouraging thing is that you’re just not sure how genuine it is, or if they’re just saying that to make us happy.  We tried to explain that there’s a difference between knowing Christ in your head (along with all the church answers) and knowing Christ in a personal and intimate way.  In that same conversation, we then, encouraged them to be reading the Scriptures daily and to be praying to God.  When I was talking to our kids, it reminded me a little bit of the Bible belt- where a lot of people know the right things to say, but when it comes to living it out- it’s not real and authentic.  Anyways, we are hoping to sit down with the rest of the kids sometime this week to find out where they are spiritually.  If you could be praying for us as we have these conversations that they would be genuine and that we could really dig into the heart of the matter, that would be awesome!  Pray that God would change their hearts in a way that only He can do and that He would change them from the inside out.  Thank you so much!!
Much love,
  ~ The Sutton's

July Update

Update from Grand Goave

July 2012

GLORY to God!
We have some really exciting news about our well at the mountain property!!  Blue Ridge came by this week to drill our well and they found about 15 gallons/min!!!!  (To give you an idea of how excited we were, our last well on that property only produced about 3 GPM.)  Praise the LORD!  It was really neat, before they started drilling, we were able to pray both in English and Creole.  The neat thing about it was that there were lots of neighbors around and were able to join us as we began drilling for water.  We now have the green light from HAF to get started building our foundation for the permanent structure at the mountain property, Ikondo.  What a HUGE answer to prayer :-). 

Summer (and help) is Here!

The kids are officially done with school and are enjoying their summer vacation!  We have two interns who have joined us to help with teams and activities for the kids during our summer months.  Lauren is a VT graduate, who majored in art and is helping our kids make projects this summer to sell to our groups.  They have made some really cool things so far including necklaces out of rocks found on the beach and some different types of Haitian wall decorations. Our other intern, Myra, is here from CA to help us host our teams this summer.  We are so excited to have some extra help around here- especially when we have so many short term teams coming in and out.  Praise the Lord!

Basketball Court.

Our team last week also helped us pour a little pad for a basketball court.  Our kids are loving it (although, they're still learning the rules :-).  The team we have here this week has a lot of youth in it- so it's perfect: the Americans whip the Haitians in bball while the Haitians kill the Americans in soccer.


Wilson has successfully finished his first round of chemo two weeks ago.  So far, he has not had a whole lot of side effects from the meds- just some water retention.  The most exciting thing- is that they actually allowed him to come home for two weeks until he starts his next round!!  He was so excited that they allowed him to do that.  Especially because they were really hesitant at first- with a depressed immune system at an orphanage with 30 other kids- you're asking for an infection!  But he's been staying in Michelle's house and wears a mask while outside- but it's so much better for him to be with his "family" than in the hospital.  We're so thankful for that blessing.  He goes back in tomorrow for his second round- please pray for him as he continues his treatments and for strength!

May Update

May 2012 Update

Orphan Summit.
 The beginning of May started out with a 6 day trip to California for an Orphan Conference followed by some HAF board meetings.  We learned a lot at this conference and were able to get some new ideas about how to better care for our children here.  One of the big pushes at this conference was to create a "family style" environment for kids at an orphanage.  The orphan movement is trying to move away from "institutions" and giving every kid a loving family.  So we talked a lot that weekend about how that could look here in Haiti, where there is no Foster Care system and the adoption process is extremely difficult.  Another huge issue we brainstormed at the conference is what to do with our older kids and helping them transition out into the real world once they're done with school.  So we had lots of great conversations over the course of those few days together as a board and Haiti staff.

The Vision.
Through a lot of discussion with our directors and prayer, we feel like we've got not only a great vision, but God's vision, for our kids here in Grand Goave.  Since we have two sites here in Grand Goave (the current site we're at & the mountain property), we want to best utilize the space for our kids.  SO the plan is to keep our current site a place where we have kids from 0-15 years old in a family style home, which would include having 6-8 kids in a small home with a "house parent(s)" where they can eat meals together and see what a family looks like.  And the plan for the mountain property is to make it a "transitional home" for those over 16 as well as a guest house for teams.  This way our older teens can continue to go to school in the mornings but also have the opportunity to learn a trade and work in the afternoons.  This would be more or less like a college type environment for them- where they're getting ready to move out on their own while learning valuable skills to be able to use in the real world.  We would love to be able to teach them various skills like welding, masonry, carpentry, farming and cooking (some very common jobs in Haiti).  The other really neat thing about having teams up on this same property would be the potential to gear our teams towards teaching some of these skills to our teens for the week they're in Haiti.  For example, it would be really neat if a team of welders came in and taught our kids for a week some basic techniques or skills.  The plan is for Michelle to take care of the site where the younger kids are and we would be up on the mountain property with the older kids and teams.  Andrew and I are really excited about this vision and really feel like God has given us a heart to teach and work with these kids in getting them ready to transition out into their culture.  


Our last team was from California and was our first returning team here in Grand Goave.  It was really neat to see how excited the kids were to see some returning faces and how they remembered their names.  The team helped us with a lot of welding and painting projects as well as just loving on the kids.  One of the big projects for the week was to make a luggage rack for our big Deuce and a half.  We are going to need some more space for luggage when we pick up bigger teams from the airport.  So that was a huge help!    Our next team doesn't come in until June 2nd.  That's when the crazy summer begins :-).  We will have teams here back to back from June 2 all the way up until the end of August- so when one team leaves on Saturday we pick another one up that same day.  So you can definitely be praying for us as we look forward to a summer of craziness.

Baby Sutton

We're still anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little "Button Sutton."  We are due June 14th, but I'm ready any day now to meet our little one :-).  It is starting to warm up down here (low 90's- which feels like low 100's when you're pregnant with no A/C).  Thankfully only a few more weeks and we'll be able to meet our little Sutton.  Other than the heat, everything else looks great- mom and baby are healthy!  It always blows my mind to be able to see so much detail of Baby's face with the ultrasound machine.


Conference.  Praise the Lord for a great time in CA of rejuvenation and time to connect with other members of HAF.  Praise the Lord for the vision that he's given to us and our leadership on how to better raise these kids.  What a great time of refreshment with others who are working in the same ministry as we are- orphan care.
Devotion time with kids. Praise the Lord for our devotional times with the kids in the evenings.  They are really enjoying it and some of them even asked to be baptized several weeks ago :-).  We are so excited to be able to sit down one-on-one with some of them and talk through what it means to be baptized.  It was really encouraging to our hearts, because they were the ones who brought up the subject!!!
Wilson. Praise the Lord- we just got the biopsy results back!  The bad news is that it is Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  The good news is that it's one of the more treatable childhood cancers.  So NOW we're trying to find a doctor (or group of doctors) that will take Wilson on as their charity case.  We've got several avenues that people are pursuing for us- so please be praying that someone would be willing to take him on as their patient.  Please be praying that God would open doors and that the paperwork and all the other details would just fall right into place for him to get some treatment soon!  

Prayer Requests:

Baby. Please be praying for our upcoming delivery (and the wait up until that day).  We are a 2 1/2 hour drive (on a good day) away from Port Au Prince, so please be praying that God's timing would be perfect and that we wouldn't meet a lot of traffic or road blocks on the way.  Pray that God would give us discernment as to when to head in to PAP.  And also pray that the whole process would be as smooth as possible (delivering where they speak mostly Creole, in an unfamiliar place and different culture.)  

Upcoming summer. Please be praying for our upcoming crazy summer of back to back groups.  It's a little overwhelming to think about having a newborn as well as having to entertain teams for the next three months.  We do have three college age girls coming this summer to help us out- to help alleviate some of the stress.  Pray that we would be able to really connect as a team and work together in unity for the Glory of God.  (Two of them are coming June 2nd and the other one is coming later in June.)

April Update

April 2012 Update

What we've been up to.

Well our past month has been packed full with visitors- family, friends and child sponsors.  We had a great time with my sister and her fianceĆ© along with a team from the US and Australia- lots of encouragement and help.  They were able to paint the swing set, monkey bars, Faith's toy box and help us put up the chain link fence around the soccer field.  The fence around the soccer field allows the neighbors to use the field, along with our kids, but not be inside the rest of our compound.  The kids are back in school now and can I just tell you how nice it is to have them back in a routine?!  Haha- three weeks of Spring Break, I think, is a little too long :-).  We are sad to see our first intern, Joy, leave us tomorrow :-(.  She has been a huge blessing and help around here the last few months.  She fits right in here at Grand Goave.  We will certainly miss her help with the depot, teams, the HAF store, watching Faith, doing my dishes as well as her ideas on how to better improve here at Hands and Feet!!!  Thanks, Joy for all you've done these past three months- you will be missed!!!

The Well

Mountain Property UpdateOver the past month, we have been testing our well for about 10 hours a day to see how much water it really is producing.  The good news is that it hasn't produced less than 2.8 gal/min.  In testing the well, we are able to give out the water to the neighbors- who absolutely love not having to walk down the mountain to get it.  

Women's Conference

The Women's Conference had a really good turn out!  I ended up sharing some Scriptures from James and Matthew about gossip and the power of the tongue.  It wasn't a "feel-good" message, but one that needed to be addressed.  After all, the Word of God cuts deep and convicts, right?  I ended up sharing in English and the pastor's daughter translated for me- thank you, Alexis!!!  

Raining Mangos

It was literally raining mangos yesterday!!  We had one of our workers climb up in the tree (directly above our house) to shake out all the ripe mangos.  The kids were having so much fun collecting them as they fell on the roof and rolled off.  We collected 4 huge buckets of mangos to give out to our workers and kids.  We were also very appreciative for the AWESOME night sleep we got last night.  In case you can't imagine- a mango falling 15 feet onto your tin roof (that doesn't have any insulation) in the middle of the night sounds like a really loud shotgun!!  We're thankful for the "near end" to the mango season :-)

The Word

Evening Devotions.
 Andrew's Bible lessons with the kids are going really well.  They are loving the interaction and being able to answer questions!  I'm pretty sure this is the first kind of interactive Bible study they've ever had.  Most of the other studies they've had in the past are more of a teaching time- no room for questions and answers.  Each of the kids also just got a brand new Creole Bible with their name engraved on it.  It's really neat to see the enthusiasm of the kids when they read and can find the Scripture for themselves.  

Waterfall Hike
Andrew and the kids took a 2 hour hike up to a waterfall their last day of Spring Break.  They absolutely loved playing in it- despite the fact that it was pretty small and a little muddy!  They ended up blocking it off for a few minutes at the top and then let it all go at once, it was pretty dirty, but they had a blast!!  Here are two of our kids playing in it :-)

Joy- We are going to miss you!  May God bless you as you start a new chapter this fall!


Orphan Summit: We are gearing up and getting ready for an Orphan Conference this May 2-8.  We will be flying into California and attending the conference for two days followed by some HAF board meetings.  We are really looking forward to some of the breakout sessions specifically geared towards discipling teenagers, transitioning them out of orphan care into the "real world," as well as family style model orphanages.  Drex and Jo Stuart (previous HAF directors at the Jacmel site) are coming down to hold down the fort while we're gone.  

Our Garden

Our kids have been doing a great job of taking care of our new garden!!  The Northside (NY) team helped us plant some corn, watermelon, beans, beets and some flowers.  They are sprouting up and the kids are doing a great job at watering them everyday!  Jean Baptiste and Jean Marie are the two who are really taking ownership of the garden- which is awesome!  Andrew was outside working with some of the kids the other day helping them put together a little fence and irrigation system for the garden.